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Study shows 1-in-4 Black respondents don’t know their cultural history

A new study shows that 1-in-4 Black respondents say they don’t know themselves fully because they don’t know enough about their cultural history.

The US’ leading biography service, StoryTerrace, believes that learning about our history can positively impact our sense of self and support a feeling of wellbeing.

Home to over 400 languages and one of the most complex cultural fabrics to exist globally, StoryTerrace, the US’ leading biography-writing service, released a statement imploring the nation to reflect on its own family history this Black History Month.

In an enlightening study commissioned by StoryTerrace, they found an intrinsic link between knowledge of one’s cultural roots and overall well-being. 

Specifically, they found that 46% of black respondents admitted a missed opportunity to learn about their history as the person who knows most about it is no longer around. To that end, it makes sense that over half of these respondents said it would improve their mental health if they heard about their relative’s history/background.

It is widely documented there are prominent disparities in mental health outcomes in Black Americans compared to their white counterparts, with research suggesting that the adult black community is 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems. To that end, StoryTerrace’s data highlights a missed opportunity to lower these figures by delving into the past and connecting with preceding generations.

Key findings:
  • 27% of black respondents say they know little to nothing about their cultural heritage
  • 42% say that they are raising their children without them or themselves having enough information about their cultural heritage
  • 27% admit they are aware of their cultural history but struggle to identify with it
  • 21% state that it negatively impacts their mental health by not knowing enough about their history. For example, breeding feelings of guilt, imposter syndrome or loneliness

One of the most powerful case studies provided by StoryTerrace to emphasize the link between journaling and cultural empowerment is Matthew Kinnard, who documented his life using the StoryTerrace service. Kinnard grew up in Franklin, Tennessee with nine siblings and was the youngest. His parents were not educated, but educational excellence was always important to him. He went on to earn his PhD and his doctorate in Philosophy whilst each of his siblings received their degree. 
 
“Being Black in America today, except in rare instances, varies little if any than when I grew up,” Kinnard said. “As a Black man, I am still expected to be better than my white counterpart to achieve the same level of socioeconomic success.”
 
While his story is a testament to the struggles Black people still face in America today, a report from UNESCO found that knowledge of one’s cultural history and ethnic background promotes a positive sense of self, social support, solidarity, and resilience. 

About StoryTerrace

StoryTerrace’s mission is to ensure that every life story is captured and passed on meaningfully. Its award-winning memoir writing service takes care of the whole process — matching clients with one of over 750 professional writers, interviewing, photo gathering, editing, designing, and printing their very own book. Books are on average 100 pages long, meaning that everyone can have their life story – or those of their loved ones — documented in a professionally curated biography or series of memoirs. Powered by its proprietary technology platform, StoryTerrace continues to scale globally and has sold over 3,500 packages since its founding in 2014. The company was a winner on BBC Dragons’ Den in 2020 and has gained traction in Sky News, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Forbes, and CBS News. 

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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